The Nature of Design is Undefined

At this very moment, you can google search for design definitions/strategies and you’ll receive millions of results. That’s a shit load of information defining a particular phenomena.

How are we supposed to accept that much information describing a system that is naturally changing? Yes, design allows us to mold and to change the world around us in a tangible manner, but yesterday’s definition isn’t tomorrow’s. Design is a progressing endeavor and while its goal is to reach a viable solution, the definition is simultaneously being reconstructed by designers.

Strangely, I am unwillingly defining the word design as your read, but I am simply trying to describe to you what design is doing; not what it is.

I’ll provide a closer look

Design has many rules and it required that it be associated to solving something with precision and mindfulness.

My perception of design is much different today compared to 10 years ago. During my high school years while taking graphic design 101, I used to see design as a strict expression of art. As I got older, I learned it was very far from art. Design has many rules and it required that it be associated to solving something with precision and mindfulness. I didn’t understand this clearly until much later in my career.

What am I getting at?

I am simply saying that the definitions we accept at an earlier state in our careers need to be re-evaluated as we become seasoned professionals in our craft. If we lean too heavily on a particular definition or approach or philosophy, then we begin to hinder real opportunities for improvement, which are naturally engraved within the character of design.

Okay, I may be causing some frustration now, especially to those who have been doing this longer than I have, but please hear me out. You can disagree with me all you want later.

An Evolving Tool

Consider your first attempts to earlier design projects. Perhaps you were hired or even blackmailed by a close friend to design a website that sold a vast collection of older video games or personal paintings. Remember the countless hours of vectorizing the logo or even coming up with a simple color scheme to fit your friend’s preferred style? Do you remember the knowledge you extracted from other designers or books or from school during that time? How much has changed since then? Can we continue to use older methods to achieve the same goal? Should we consider newer methods that have been re-designed for today? Interestingly, design is evolving and we can use design to enhance the way we go about solving problems. Today, we have the ability to create custom tools within software we use to make our process exceptional.

As a designer who started clicking away on adobe’s photoshop and illustrator during high school, I remember holding these values to be definitive, but I think most of us can honestly say that the principles we once kept sacred are still with us today. However, these principles are also accompanied by our expanding toolbox, which is filled with opposing views and unconventional guidelines. They have allowed us to think passed our traditional approach and further into an unforgiving and unpredictable method containing an outcome of its own. Maybe we’re beginning to understand that design can serve us in more ways than we originally planned.

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